The establishment of the Union of South Africa consolidates white rule over the territories that came to be known as South Africa. The Union is founded on racial segregation and disenfranchisement of black people except for a small number who previously qualified in the Cape Colony.
26 February, Mahatma Gandhi supports the African Peoples Organisations resolution to declare the day of arrival of the Prince of Wales in South Africa as a day of mourning in protest against the South Africa Acts disenfranchisement of Indians, Coloureds and Africans in the upcoming Union of South Africa.
The Union parliament enacts laws that widen “the racial divide”. This includes the Black Labour Regulation Act which “made it an offence to break an employment contract” and the Mines and Works Act, which establishes “Colour Bar” in employment. This act effectively “consolidated job reservation for Whites, confirming the status of Blacks as cheap labour by putting a range of skilled jobs beyond their reach on the basis of ‘competency’.” (Morris: 2004)
27 April, Indian passive resistance is suspended when Gen. J.C. Smuts enters into negotiations with Mahatma Gandhi.
The African National Congress (ANC) is formed as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) on 8 July in Bloemfontein. It aimed to unite all African people and fight for the rights of black South Africans as the white minority government began to dispossess them of their land and liberties.At the conference it is also decided to establish Abantu-Batho (‘The People’), a multi-lingual (English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho language) weekly newspaper.
18 May, Future founding member of the ANC Youth League, Secretary General of the ANC and member of MP High Command and Vise President of the ANC Walter Ulyate Max Sisulu, is born in Engcobo District, Transkei
19 June, The Land Act, Act No 27, is passed. The Native Land Act formally divides land between Black and White people. This Act “restricted the Black majority’s ownership to just seven percent of the country ...[and] scheduled certain areas [later called bantustans] for exclusive Black settlement.” It also “prevented Africans from buying land anywhere outside these areas [except in the Cape province].” Sol Plaaitjie wrote of the act: “on Friday morning, 20 June 1913, the South African native found himself, not a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.” (Morris: 2004). As a result of this Act, the majority of Africans could no longer live as subsistence farmers. There was not enough land for everyone. Africans were forced to work for wages on white farms or in the mines or factories.
January, A delegation from the South African Native National Congress, made up of Dube, Plaatje and Rubusana among others, travels to Great Britain to protest against the Natives' Land Act. They are met by Colonial Secretary, Rt Hon. L. Harcourt who concludes that the SANNC should make a case to their Parliament and not to the Crown. Plaatje remains in England when the other delegates return.
February, The SANNC hosts its annual conference which is attended by the Secretary of Native Affairs, Edward Dower. However, he announces that the British Crown had already been advised by the British Government to assent to the Land Act.
The Beaumont Commission tours The Union of South Africa, trying to find areas that could be incorporated into the reserves, without disturbing white farming.
The Natives Administration Bill considers additional land to be allocated to reserved “Native” areas.
The SANNC Executive Committee splits, with Dube accepting the theory of territorial segregation. As a result Samuel Makgatho assumes office as president.
21 February, More than 600 men of the South African Native Labour Contingent drown off the Isle of Wight when the SS Mendi sinks after colliding with another vessel the SS Darro, in thick fog. Yet, after the World War I, none of the Black South African troops receive the customary acknowledgement of a medal or a ribbon.
27 October, Oliver Tambo, ninth President of the ANC, is born in the village of Kantolo in Pondoland.
18 July, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is born in the small Tembu village of Mvezo on the banks of the Mbashe River, in the district of Qunu near Umtata (Mthathta),the Transkei's largest town. He was born to Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Hendry Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, a minor hereditary chief.
Chief Gadla Mandela is one of a score of grandsons of Ngubengcuka, the great Thembu king and leader of the Madiba clan who ruled over what was known as Thembuland and died in 1832. Gladla Mandela is descended from the junior line of the Royal Thembu family, but is a close confident, member of council and senior counsellor to his cousin Thembu king Dalindyebo and later Dalinyebo's son Chief Jongilizwe. Nonqaphi Nosekeni is the third of Gladla's four wives with whom she would have three girls and one son. Rolihlahla is her third child and he grew up in a loving and supportive extended family of half-brothers and half-sisters, cousins and stepmothers.
Gadla Mandela is involved in a standoff with the local magistrate around what he considers is a matter of principle regarding their respective authorities. He is charged with insubordination and stripped of his chieftainship. The loss of his position means that he loses his government stipend and the family falls on hard times. Gladla is forced to move his family to the village of Qunu.
SANNC delegation visits Britain to protest against the Land Act for the second time.
70 000 African miners go on strike on the Witwatersrand. The strike is highly disciplined and organised and an alarmed government throws police cordons around each of the compounds, preventing coordination of demands and actions. Troops break through the workers` barricades, with bayonets fixed, killing 3 and wounding 40. Police and armed White civilians attack a meeting of solidarity with the striking miners, killing 8 and wounding 80.
19 February, The first Pan African Congress is held in Paris, France and is headed by William Edward Durghardt Du Bois. A firm supporter of the Back to Africa movement in the United States of America, Marcus Garvey founds the African Communities League and the Black Star Line (part of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)), with the intention of bringing home the African Americans.
Delegation of South African Native National Congress (SANNC) travels to Great Britain and Europe to present African case at Versailles Peace Conference.